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Communications / Marketing

Head of Communications – HM Prison and Youth Custody Service – 40399
£52,119 - £76,000
Multiple Locations


We welcome and encourage applications from everyone, including groups currently underrepresented in our workforce and pride ourselves as being an employer of choice. To find out more about how we champion diversity and inclusion in the workplace, visit:

Grade 6 open to lateral transfer or on temporary promotion

18 months loan / FTA

Job description

We are looking for an exceptional communications professional to join the HM Prison and Probation (HMPPS) communications team in the Ministry of Justice. You will manage a team to deliver a strategic and internal communications function to support the work of the Prisons Service and Youth Custody Service. You will play a central role in developing and delivering both the Prisons/Youth Custody, and the wider HMPPS, communications strategies.

Working to the Deputy Director, Head of HMPPS Communications, you will lead prisons and youth custody communications ensuring staff, service-users (prisoners and children in custody), stakeholders and the public are informed about policies and reform, and staff are engaged, inspired and feel valued. You will bring rigour and coherence to internal and external communications, straddling campaigns, stakeholder communications, digital and operational comms and working hand-in-hand with MOJ Press Office.

We are looking for a strong leader with demonstrable experience of using insight to develop communications strategies and campaigns, which give clear direction across a range of communications disciplines and which drive proven results. Experience in leading major change communications and large-scale internal communication, using insight to shape the communications approach, effectively evaluate results and inform future activity, is essential. Experience leading high-profile campaigns, both with and without budget, is highly desirable.

This role will require close working with teams across MoJ’s Communications and Information Directorate. As a senior member of the team you will be expected to play a key role in shaping the direction and positive culture of the team, and you will hold oversight for the work of a team of communications specialists.

Key Responsibilities

  • Provide strategic oversight across the full range of prison and youth communications
  • Manage 2 x Grade 7s and have oversight of a team of c. 16
  • Oversee the development and delivery of long-term (6-12 months) strategic communication plans for prison and youth service
  • Oversee the communications team’s response to COVID including setting the strategic direction of how we communicate issues relating to COVID, managing team resources, developing and delivering campaigns and reporting on the impact of our communications
  • Oversee the building and maintaining of an annual calendar of campaigns which sets out plans for effective communications that meet business objectives across the year, linked to Prison and Youth business plans
  • Oversee the delivery of integrated, ‘digital by default’ and evidence-based campaigns and oversight of the setting of key metrics and evaluation for those campaigns. Ensure key strands are properly resourced and the team is fully integrated within HMPPS and the wider Communications Directorate
  • Lead a project to assess how the central communications team can best support local sites’ communications, and oversee delivery of the recommendations of that exercise
  • Be the senior communication representative at key Prison and Youth Sustody Service board meetings, and provide communications advice to senior leaders
  • Quality Control – ensure all prisons/youth communications products issued by the national comms team are accurate, timely and consistently high quality
  • Oversee development of stakeholder engagement strategies for prison and Youth Services, bringing together the teams across HMPPS to agree and deliver a holistic approach
  • Support the HMPPS Head of Communications to lead the HMPPS Comms Team and deputise as required
  • Build effective working relationships with relevant Directors and DGs (and their offices)
  • Build and maintain a strong, collaborative working relationship with all communications and engagement teams working on Prison and Youth Comms throughout HMPPS


We’ll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Communicating and Influencing – Communicate in a straightforward, honest and engaging manner, choosing appropriate styles to maximise understanding and impact. Encourage the use of different communication methods, including digital resources and highlight the benefits, including ensuring cost effectiveness. Ensure communication has a clear purpose and takes into account people’s individual needs. Share information as appropriate and check understanding. Show positivity and enthusiasm towards work, encouraging others to do the same. Ensure that important messages are communicated with colleagues and stakeholders respectfully, taking into consideration the diversity of interests.
  • Working Together – Encourage joined up teamwork within own team and across other groups. Establish professional relationships with a range of stakeholders. Collaborate with these to share information, resources and support. Invest time to develop a common focus and genuine positive team spirit where colleagues feel valued and respect one another. Put in place support for the wellbeing of individuals within the team, including consideration of your own needs. Make it clear to all team members that bullying, harassment and discrimination are unacceptable. Actively seek and consider input of people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
  • Managing a Quality Service – Develop, implement, maintain and review systems and services to ensure delivery of professional excellence. Work with stakeholders to set priorities, objectives and timescales. Successfully deliver high quality outcomes that meet the customers’ needs and gives value for money. Identify risks and resolve issues efficiently. Involve a diverse range of colleagues, stakeholders and delivery partners in developing suggestions for improvements. Establish ways to find and respond to feedback from customers about the services provided.
  • Developing Self and Others – Prioritise and role-model continuous self-learning and development. Identify areas individuals and teams need to develop in order to achieve future objectives. Support colleagues to take responsibility for their own learning and development. Ensure that development opportunities are available for all individuals regardless of their background or desire to achieve promotion. Ensure individuals take full advantage of learning and development opportunities available to them, including workplace based learning. Encourage discussions within and between teams to learn from each other’s experiences and change organisational plans and processes accordingly.


Existing civil servants on level transfer will retain their level of pay unless this is lower than the starting salary as outlined in MoJ T&Cs.

Level of security checks required  

Security Clearance (SC)

To apply for roles in MOJ you will need to confirm your employment history for at least 3 years prior to the date of application so that pre-employment checks (BPSS) can be undertaken. If you have spent significant time abroad (a total of 6 months in the past 3 years) you would be required to give a reasonable account of the reasons why.

For some roles you will be required to successfully complete National Security Vetting at Counter Terrorism (CTC), Security Clearance (SC) or Developed Vetting (DV) level as a condition of appointment. To meet CTC/SC/DV requirements you will normally need to have been resident in the UK for at least 3/5/10 years prior to the date of application (The level of checks that are required are stated in the advert).

If you do not meet the above requirements, you may still be considered if, for example:

  • You’ve been serving overseas with HM Forces or in some other official capacity as a representative of HM Government
  • You were studying abroad
  • You were living overseas with parents

In such cases you will need to be able to provide referee cover for the period(s) of residence overseas. The duration of overseas residence and the country of abode will also be taken into account.

Additional Information

Working Arrangements & Further Information

Some of MoJ’s terms and conditions of service are changing as part of Civil Service reform. The changes will apply to staff joining MoJ who are new to the Civil Service. Staff joining MoJ from other civil service employers will transfer onto the new MoJ terms if they are already on ‘modernised’ terms in their current post or onto ‘unmodernised’ MoJ terms if they are on ‘unmodernised’ terms at their current post. Details will be available if an offer is made.

Flexible working hours

The Ministry of Justice offers a flexible working system in many offices.


The MoJ offers a range of benefits:

Annual Leave

Annual leave is 25 days on appointment and will increase to 30 days after five years’ service.

There is also a scheme to allow qualifying staff to buy or sell up to three days leave each year. Additional paid time off for public holidays and 1 privilege day. Leave for part-time and job share posts will be calculated on a pro-rata basis.


The Civil Service offers a choice of pension schemes, giving you the flexibility to choose the pension that suits you best.


The Ministry of Justice is committed to staff development and offers an extensive range of training and development opportunities.


  • A range of ‘Family Friendly’ policies such as opportunities to work reduced hours or job share.
  • Access to flexible benefits such as voluntary benefits,retail vouchers and discounts on a range of goods and services.
  • For any moves across the Civil Service may have implications on your ability to carry on claiming childcare vouchers
  • Paid paternity, adoption and maternity leave.
  • Free annual sight tests for employees who use computer screens.


The opportunity to join employee-run networks that have been established to provide advice and support and to enable the views of employees from minority groups to be expressed direct to senior management. There are currently networks for employees of minority ethnic origin, employees with disabilities, employees with caring responsibilities, women employees, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission’s recruitment principles. Should you feel that the recruitment process has breached the recruitment principles you are able to raise a formal complaint in the following order

1-      To Shared Service Connected Ltd (0845 241 5358 (Monday to Friday 8am – 6pm) or e mail;

2-      To Ministry of Justice Resourcing (;

3-      To the Civil Service Commission (details available here)

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity.

There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Grading Structure Review

The Ministry of Justice is currently undergoing a review of posts which are currently graded at Band A to realign our grading structure with the majority of the wider Civil Service.

Posts advertised at Band A may be graded at either Grade 6 or Grade 7 once the review has taken place.